Lesbian Survivors of Sexual Assault

Document Sample
Lesbian Survivors of Sexual Assault Powered By Docstoc
					         Lesbians and Sexual Assault                            NATIONAL RESOURCES
Lesbians are in most ways no different from other       Gay and Lesbian National Hotline
sexual assault survivors, but they have their own       (888) THE-GLNH (843-4564)
special needs and issues.                               www.glnh.org                               Lesbian Survivors of Sexual
The lesbian survivor may experience PTSD (Post          National Center for Lesbian Rights                  Assault
Traumatic Stress Disorder) and other typical symp-      (415) 392-6257
toms of sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse        (415) 392-8442 (fax)
just as any other sexual assault survivor might expe-   www.nclrights.org
rience these symptoms. She may experience anger,
depression, sleeplessness, nightmares, flashbacks,      National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
sleeping disorders, uncontrollable crying, eating       (202) 332-6483
disorders, increased drug or alcohol use or other       (202) 332-0207 (fax)
common symptoms of sexual assault.                      www.ngltf.org

The rapist can be anyone - a family member, a                      STATE RESOURCES
friend, a date, a partner, a co-worker, a neighbor, a                                              Join TAASA in the campaign against sexual assault.
stranger. If a woman is raped specifically because      Montrose Counseling Center, Inc.
she is a lesbian, this is not only rape, but a hate     701 Richmond Avenue
crime as well.                                          Houston, TX 77006
                                                        (713) 529-0037
It is important for counselors, loved ones and family   www.montrosecounselingcenter.org
members to be supportive and realize that just as all
women are not alike, not all lesbians are alike, and    Gay and Lesbian Switchboard Houston
that each person is an individual in her own right      (713) 529-3211
and should be respected for those qualities.            www.gayswitchboardhouston.org

                                                        Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
                                                        7701 North Lamar, Ste 104
                                                        Austin, TX 78752
                                                        Phone: 512-474-7190
                                                        Fax:   512-474-6490
         Is She Angry or Depressed?                              Fears About Disclosure                        Myths About Lesbian Sexual Assault

Anger and depression are two of the                   Many victims of sexual assault are fearful           Myths are beliefs which may be culturally
common feelings which women exhibit                   about reporting or disclosing the assault. For       accepted without any basis in truth.
as a result of sexual assault or child sexual         the lesbian survivor, there may be additional
                                                      fears as well:                                                    MYTH Because only ‘straight women'
abuse. It is not "crazy" or unusual to be
                                                                                                                        are sexually assaulted, lesbians don't
angry or sad about an event which was                                                                                   have to worry about it.
                                                      w   She may fear that those around her will be
perceived to be traumatic and life
                                                          judgmental towards her orientation as well
threatening.                                              as the sexual assault itself.                                 FACT: Anyone, whether male,
                                                                                                                        female, adult, or child, can be sexually
w   Anger is a natural reaction to the violation of   w   If she has not "come out," she may be fearful                 assaulted.
    sexual assault. For the lesbian, part of her          of exposure to family, friends, co-workers or
    anger or depression may also stem from the            a hostile culture.                                            MYTH When abuse occurs within the
    very real cultural oppression of lesbians.                                                                          lesbian relationship, the abuser will
                                                      w   She may fear the loss of her support system.                  always be butch, bigger and stronger.
w   A same-sex partner may be able to identify                                                                          The victim will always be feminine,
    with the victim's feelings more than a            w   She may be afraid that her sexual orientation                 smaller and weaker.
    heterosexual partner would and may                    will be perceived to be the crux of the
    experience similar post-traumatic symptoms.           problem rather than the assault itself.                       FACT: This stereotypes lesbians.
    The victim's sense of sadness and anger may                                                                         When there is abuse present, either
    increase if she feels deprived of her partner's   w   The lesbian community is small. She might                     party is capable of perpetrating it.
    emotional support just when she needs it the          be afraid that everyone will find out about
    most.                                                 her assault.                                                  MYTH Lesbians secretly want to
                                                                                                                        have sex with men and set it up so that
w   When the perpetrator is a lover, she may feel     w   She may be afraid that she will be discrimi-                  they can have sex without others find-
    doubly victimized by someone who was                  nated against by those in the criminal justice                ing out.
    supposed to be even more understanding of             system, who may not be as sympathetic to a
    her.                                                  victim who is also a lesbian.                                 FACT: No one wants or asks to be
                                                                                                                        sexually assaulted.
                    w   Lesbians have to face         w   In addition to the special concerns related to
                         not only a sexist culture,       how others may perceive her sexual                            MYTH Lesbians provoke sexual
                         but a homophobic one             orientation, the lesbian survivor will likely                 assault by flaunting their orientation.
                         as well. A woman of              have all the common fears that any survivor
                         color who is also a              might have: fear of being stalked, for                        FACT: Only the perpetrator is
                         lesbian may have to face                                                                       responsible for his/her criminal
                                                          example, or fear of retribution.
                         the additional burden of                                                                       actions. This is a victim-blaming state-
                         racism as well.                                                                                ment.

Shared By: